Nostalgia is a deep, meaningful word. Nostalgia is my mother sitting herself in front of the TV, eyes transfixed to the opening titles of All in the Family, as she introduces my sister and me to the classic. Nostalgia is my father’s automatic instinct to recite every line in Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” just as soon as he hears the first four notes. Nostalgia, in essence, is a yearning for the past. I, a fifteen-year-old, have almost nothing that qualifies as nostalgia. Perhaps everything from my birth up to this very moment is a moment I will look back on with a smile. When I heard of the Nostalgiathon 2012, hosted by the impressive blogs Andy Watches Movies and Cinema Schminema, I was dying to participate, even if I had to bend the guidelines quite liberally. In case you don’t know, I love blogathons, whether writing them or participating in them.
Today is the first day of Advent, a Christian season that leads up to Christmas. Let me be clear that I’m not going to fill the post with “Hail Mary” or prayers in Aramaic, as I respect that not everyone has the same belief. I wrote this post on the nineteenth of November (while I was thinking of it), but as the idea of commercializing Christmas right after Halloween is over is one of my biggest pet peeves, I made sure to schedule the post on the beginning of the true Christmas season. And in this post, I won’t be celebrating one favorite, as other participants have been doing. Let’s kill two birds with one stone and file out mini-reviews for my three favorite Christmas movies.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
The film is a followup to National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) and the underrated National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985), once again enlightening us with the farcical family cheers that unite the Griswold family. I’ve seen the film several times, as by tradition, we watch it every holiday season, usually Christmas Eve. The laughs start young and never get old (see the squirrel scene above).
You’re probably discovering that my idea of an unforgettable Christmas movie just isn’t a walk in a park. Sometimes, it isn’t one bit cheerful, either, and that’s Gremlins for you. I’ve seen the film at least seven or eight times since the age of ten. A teenage boy get an early Christmas present–an adorable, rodent-like Mogwai–and is told three crucial laws: never expose them to water, never expose them to bright lights, and never–ever–feed them after midnight. It turns into a hectic monster movie when one of the rules is accidentally broken, and the Mogwai begin multiplying into Gremlins–hideous, ghastly, lizard-like creatures terrorizing the entire town. Not the most probable, but if you enjoy a bit of darkness during the holiday season, it’s easy to recommend.
Die Hard (1988)
For those with a sensitive ear, I would play the video below with caution.
Of course, I watched Die Hard for the first time more recently than Christmas Vacation or Gremlins. For those who have not seen it, please change that. NOW. If I had to choose, Die Hard is my favorite Christmas movie of all-time, as well as one of my favorite action movies. The first two sequels are disappointing, but after the most recent impressed extraordinarily, A Good Day to Die Hard is easily my most anticipated film for next year.